Public to be consulted over plans to axe Bracknell's retained firefighters

Published: 5 May 2014 09:302 comments

PLANS to scrap the use of retained firefighters in Bracknell are set to be put out to public consultation.

If this proposal is eventually approved by the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS), eight of the staff based at the station in Downshire Way would be made redundant, saving £46,500 a year on wages and £12,000 on running the fire engine.

Firefighters at Wokingham Fire Station – which is manned 24 hours a day – would act as the first response to incidents in the Bracknell area when Bracknell’s only full-time crew is not on duty.

A report commissioned by the fire authority said there would be a minimal impact on its ability to tackle fires in Bracknell if the eight retained firefighters in the town were made redundant.

Under the fire service’s plans, two retained firefighters based in Ascot could also be made redundant. As four firefighters are needed for a crew, the town does not have its own dedicated team.

Options being considered include closing Ascot Fire Station, with nearby stations providing cover for the area, or transferring one of the full-time crews from Slough to Ascot.

The issues were discussed by the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority last Wednesday.

Ellie Gray, press officer at RBFRS, said: “The fire authority agreed to consult the public and staff on the proposals to disband the retained unit at Bracknell and that work to address the issues around cover at Ascot should continue. No date has been set for this to start yet, as it was only agreed at the meeting last week.”

Retained firefighters are 'on call' - they can have other jobs but are expected to attend incidents when called out.

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  • Forester
    36 posts
    May 7, 01:49
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    This is a truly stupid idea.

    The plans to build more houses across Bracknell and Wokingham will mean more traffic. More traffic will guarantee regular jams and lengthy hold ups (for example, at Coppid Beech). So some bright spark now suggests cutting back on emergency services cover. Have any of these people ever driven a fire engine through stationary rush hour traffic to an incident? Of course not.

    And who are the members of the Fire Authority? Why - the very same councillors who have presided over all the other fiascos afflicting East Berkshire right now.

    Just another timely reminder that it's time East Berkshire got some local representatives who are fit for purpose and capable of meeting the challenges facing the area.

    Recommend?   Yes 6     No 5

  • AlvinFinch
    5 posts
    May 13, 03:34
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    Sorry Forester, but you most definitely have the wrong and of the stick.

    This is a way to UPGRADE the service. Already Wokingham has been upgraded to full time status, and is now able to better cover Bracknell from that area. Fire Engines will most times find their way though the heaviest of traffic. The Wokingham service has been proven to get to incidents quicker that the current Bracknell retained appliance (IF it is available – not in 87% of all cases and 95% of day time). Appliances are shared across the County, and inter-county. At the same time as making Bracknell a totally full time site, the plan is to make Ascot full time instead of part time. This will much improve the ability of stations to provide backfilled cover.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 1